From the get-go, it seems the Subaru XV is designed to take the Mitsubishi ASX in a head-to-head grudge match. Consider the general design: both originate from all-wheel drive compact cars (the XV is from the Impreza, the ASX is from the Lancer EX); consider the drivetrain: both sport 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines mated to CVT transmissions; consider the price: both are stone’s throw from each other topping out at close to P 1.550 million apiece; lastly, consider the naming: both are christened with a string nonsensical letters. These factors easily make the XV and the ASX the most inseparable rivals in today’s compact crossovers, and the perfect subject for our first head-to-head test.
The Subaru XV and the Mitsubishi ASX are considered as compact crossovers, but they both don’t fit the usual mold. Normally, the best way to describe compact crossovers is that they’re jacked up wagons. However, in the case of the Subaru and Mitsubishi, they look more like jacked up hatchbacks. The XV and ASX feature less formal roof lines, with an abruptly cut rear end. Though they give off a youthful persona next to say, the Forester or Outlander, they sacrifice a lot when it comes to cargo carrying capacity.
Though the Mitsubishi ASX is over two years older than the Subaru XV, it manages to hold on pretty well, showing almost no sign of aging. Despite becoming a regular sight on Philippine roads, the ASX is still a head-turner thanks largely to the angular design and large, gaping grille. While the ASX relies solely on the simplicity of its angry face and sharp creases, the Subaru XV goes retro by re-introducing body cladding as a fashion statement. Normally, you cringe at the sight of unpainted, black plastic but on the XV it makes everything look all the more macho. Together with the two-tone black and silver rims, the blackened fender extenders and side molding (both of which are nicely textured) add a mean look to the otherwise pedestrian-looking XV.
Interior and Space
People go for crossovers over passenger cars mainly because it gives the impression of “getting more for your buck”. And though that may be true with traditional crossovers; sadly both the Subaru XV and ASX don’t necessarily give you that much room over your regular Impreza or Lancer EX. In fact, the slight premium you’re paying goes to getting a more commanding view of the road ahead and the added security of more ground clearance.
The XV benefits a lot from the additional two years of development time over the ASX with a much better made and much more ergonomic cabin. The materials, especially those on the dashboard are simply top-notch on the Subaru. The hard and scratch-prone plastics on the Forester and Legacy are no where to be found, and in its place are soft-touch surfaces and quality fittings. The only complaint you can level at the XV would be the flimsy side mirror adjustment control as well as the Toyota (as in lifted from the Vios) wiper and light stalks. The seating position and control layout feel much more ergonomic and logical in the XV with larger, better laid out buttons and controls.
It should have been a clear win for the Subaru XV in the interior category if only its rear seats and luggage holding capacity were better. If you need to carry five adults and their luggage regularly, the Mitsubishi ASX is the much better choice thanks to its airier cabin and taller loading bay. The standard moon roof on the XV is a great talking point for potential owners, but it does rob a lot of headroom making those taller than 175 cm brush the ceiling. Also, with its cargo cover in place, the XV is easily stumped by just one 26- or 28-inch check-in sized luggage loaded (you’ll struggle fitting two of them on top of each other), while the ASX easily accommodates a second row of luggage stacked with the cargo cover on. Once you remove their respective cargo covers though, the XV boasts of 637 liters of space versus 384 liters on the ASX.
Both the Mitsubishi ASX and Subaru XV sport the exact same engine and transmission configuration: a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a chain-type Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Even their engine outputs are remarkably evenly matched with 150 horsepower and 197 Nm of torque for the ASX and 150 horsepower and 196 Nm of torque for the XV. But that’s where their similarities end.
On the road, the Subaru XV feels peppier to drive. Clearly, the Lineartronic (Subaru speak for CVT) is better mated to its Flat-4 engine, taking advantage of the engine’s good low- and mid-range torque as well as a fatter power band. However, it must be said that the XV’s drivetrain is much better suited to relaxed city driving as you still need to get some decent revs to get around briskly. Compared to the XV, the ASX’s power delivery is even peakier. There’s almost nothing happening between 1,500-2,500 rpm, and then power starts coming in slowly but surely. Plus, once you hit past 5,000 rpm, the engine simply sounds coarse. The difference in power delivery reflects on their respective fuel economies. The Subaru XV offers an impeccable 9.61 km/L in mixed city/highway use while the Mitsubishi ASX does 8.72 km/L under similar conditions.
Suspension set-up has always been a Subaru strongpoint, and the XV continues that tradition. Despite being an “Impreza on stilts”, the XV is sporty, responding very well to left-right-left transitions much better than the ASX. The Subaru also trumps the Mitsubishi in terms of riding comfort and even NVH isolation despite being equipped with all-terrain tires. And don’t even think for a minute that the Subaru is simply a pretentious crossover wannabe. It comes standard with all-wheel drive as well as 220 mm of ground clearance, just five millimeters shy of the Forester and 25 mm over the ASX.
Winner: Subaru XV
Value for Money
Despite their less than practical nature and small stature, both the Subaru XV and Mitsubishi ASX are premium-priced. The ASX goes from P 1,195,000 for the barebones GLX MT all the way up to P 1,548,000 for the GLS SE. Meanwhile, the Subaru XV comes in two simpler flavors: P 1,398,000 for the 2.0i and P 1,478,000 for the 2.0i Premium. Thankfully, despite the high price tags, both of these compact crossovers come well-equipped.
Again, almost nothing separates the two top-of-the-line models. Standard equipment on the Mitsubishi ASX GLS SE and Subaru XV 2.0i Premium include: HID headlamps with washers, power folding mirrors, 17-inch alloys (215/60 tires on the ASX, 225/55 tires on the XV), leather steering wheel with audio controls, a full-color multi-information display, an audio system with both USB input and Bluetooth hands-free, and split-folding rear seats. Both offer a multitude of airbags (7 on the ASX, 6 on the XV), anti-lock brakes with EBD, and even traction control all as standard. In fact, the only notable difference is that the Mitsubishi ASX comes with a GPS-based navigation system and a push-button engine start/stop while the Subaru XV is the only one with a moon roof and dual-zone climate control.
Despite their similarities in features, the Subaru XV still comes out on top as the better value crossover at P 70,000 less than the only all-wheel drive equipped Mitsubishi ASX. This leftover change easily represents comprehensive insurance or even extra money to opt for the Subaru-Flyaudio GPS navigation system so you can level the playing field with the ASX. The disparity’s even worse when you compare the “entry-level” XV to the ASX GLS SE where the price difference is a whopping P 150,000. That said, if you don’t need all-wheel drive, only Mitsubishi offers a mid-range ASX that comes in at a very respectable P 1,275,000 or P 123,000 less than even the entry-level XV.
Winner: Subaru XV
After driving both the Subaru XV and the Mitsubishi ASX back-to-back, it’s funny and surprising how much technology and driving have come after two years. Although its looks are holding up, everything else on the Mitsubishi ASX is aging. From the interior finish, ergonomics, drivetrain, and dynamics, the ASX has simply been outclassed by the Subaru XV. Still, don’t dismiss the Mitsubishi ASX just yet. It still offers much more interior room and remains a much more practical family choice next to the XV. In addition, it’s the only one that remains to offer a more affordable, front-wheel drive option at some P 123,000 less than the Subaru. And for some, this price difference may prove to be too irresistible. If price isn’t such a big factor though, and you’re wanting an compact crossover with all-wheel drive, then the Subaru XV’s the better choice out there.
Winner: Subaru XV